How backpacker’s dream holiday turned to terror
SEVERAL weeks ago Chilean filmmaker Constanza "Kuki" Escudero described herself as a "happy bird" as she planned a dream Australian holiday with her best friend.
Yesterday her trip was in tatters as she recovered in Cairns Hospital from a horrific 8cm knife wound in her neck.
The 26-year-old from Santiago was allegedly attacked at random by a part-time cleaner who used a knife from the communal kitchen. at Geckos Backpackers Hostel on Bunda St at Parramatta Park.
Ms Escudero and her friend, veterinarian Marisol Fernandez, 26, had been in Cairns just three days when the alleged assault took place about 11am on Monday. They arrived in Australia 10 days ago.
The pair, who are both well travelled animal lovers, had planned to find work while here. Instead their plans remain uncertain with Ms Escudero's father due to arrive from Chile tomorrow as she recovers from her injury.
She had surgery on the wound yesterday with medical staff and police shocked at how close she came to death.
The wound was just millimetres from a major artery which could have potentially been fatal if hit.
The alleged offender, Northern Territory man Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthi, 36, has been charged with attempted murder and has been remanded in custody after a short appearance in the Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday.
Police have alleged the pair did not know each other.
It was also alleged he threatened Ms Fernandez with the knife, although she did not suffer any injuries. She is by her friend's side at the hospital.
Ms Escudero was initially treated by two nurses who were staying at the hostel while on holiday from New South Wales. They worked to stop the bleeding before paramedics arrived.
Det Sen-Sgt Ed Kinbacher said it was only by "pure fluke" she survived the alleged attack.
"Clearly this is psychologically and physically scarring incident that she'll carry with her for some time," he said.
"(It is) awful a young woman, just arrived in Cairns, here to enjoy what this community offers and within a short period of time through no fault of her own she is finding herself with a life threatening injury. It was pure luck that she is still with us."
He said the Chilean embassy, along with their families had been advised.
Police are calling for anyone with dashcam footage of the alleged incident to come forward.